The 19th annual "Symphony of Lights," a 20-minute drive-through spectacle of more than 70 larger-than-life holiday light displays, opens Monday, Nov. 19, and continues through Jan. 6 at Symphony Woods in Columbia. Hours are 6 p.m.-10 p.m. daily. Admission is $20 per car or van, up to eight passengers; $45 for commercial vans and minibuses seating nine to 24 people; and $125 for buses exceeding 24 passengers. Information: 410-740-7840 or hcgh.org/symphonyoflights. The event benefits Howard County General Hospital.
Earth Forum of Howard County presents "Water for Food" at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18, at First Presbyterian Church, 9325 Presbyterian Circle in Columbia. Joseph Spence will give a presentation on how agricultural research addresses water problems related to climate change, health and population growth while providing a sustainable, safe and nutritious food supply. Refreshments will be served. Open to all. Information: 410-730-3545.
The men's barbershop harmony group, The Heart of Maryland Chorus, opens the holiday season Friday, Nov. 23, with a concert at The Mall in Columbia. The chorus will perform holiday favorites beginning at 1 p.m. For more information about the chorus, go to heartofmaryland.org.
Vendor applications are being accepted for the county's sixth annual GreenFest on April 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Howard Community College's Burrill Galleria, 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia. Vendors and exhibitors with information on green products, options for resident involvement in helping the community go green, ecological home cleaning, environmentally friendly lawn care, alternative energy, water conservation and reuse, and tips for making everyday activities green are encouraged to apply. Each exhibit space includes a 5-foot-long table and two chairs. Cost to nonprofits is $25 per space; cost to other entities, including commercial businesses, is $35 per space. An additional $10 late fee will be charged to those who apply after Jan. 18. Preference will be given to local businesses and organizations that promote environmentally friendly goods and services. Vendor applications are available at hcgreenfest.org. For more information and/or to have an application mailed, email email@example.com or call 410-313-6433.
An exhibit of brush paintings by Jing-Jy Chen is on view through Nov. 30 at Artists' Gallery, American City Building, 10227 Wincopin Circle in Columbia. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. Closed Sundays. The gallery is also open by appointment. Information: 410-740-8249 or artistsgallerycolumbia.com.
'Art Maryland 2012'
A show featuring works selected from more than 450 entries submitted by 169 artists working in a wide variety of styles and mediums runs through Dec. 14 at Howard County Center for the Arts, 8510 High Ridge Road in Ellicott City. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays, and noon-4 p.m. Sundays. Information: 410-313-2787.
'Walk to Bethlehem'
Glen Mar United Methodist Church will hold its annual event from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. daily Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at the church, 4701 New Cut Road in Ellicott City. The free event is led by guides, and attendees will journey through outdoor settings where actors will portray the events leading to and immediately after the birth of Jesus. For more information, call 410-465-4995, ext. 204 or go to glenmarumc.org.
Columbia Pro Cantare is holding auditions for all parts for its 36th anniversary season. Works to be performed include "Carmina Burana," Handel's "Messiah," Faure's "Requiem," and works from Spain and Latin America. Call 410-730-8549 to schedule an audition. Information: procantare.org.
Rockburn Skills Park, targeted toward mountain bikers and trail runners, has opened at Rockburn Branch Park. Features include a pump track, flow trail, descending trail, climbing trail and an uphill return trail. The 450-acre Rockburn Branch Park includes 7.4 miles of trails, woodlands, marshes and stream valleys, multipurpose athletic fields, baseball diamonds, tennis and basketball courts, two playgrounds, an 18-hole disc golf course and picnic pavilions. Information: rockburnskillspark.org.
The Howard County Conservancy offers free guided hikes and talks on the second Saturday of each month. Visitors can enjoy an easy walk in the meadows and woods of the conservancy, 10520 Old Frederick Road in Woodstock. Information: 410-465-8877 or go to hcconservancy.org.
The Howard County Arts Council has announced the availability of the Black Box Theatre for rental. The 98-seat multipurpose performance space is equipped with professional sound and lighting equipment, nearby dressing rooms, padded seats, black stage curtains and a sprung dance floor. A performance grand piano is available for rental through a separate agreement with the Howard County Music Teachers Association.
All renters of the theater are required to carry a commercial liability insurance policy of $1 million. Other requirements and rental request forms and rates can be found at hocoarts.org. Rental request forms should be mailed to Room Rentals, Howard County Arts Council, 8510 High Ridge Road, Ellicott City 21043.
Kindred Spirits, a social club for people diagnosed with early memory loss or dementia, meets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the 50+ Center at the Gary J. Arthur Community Center, 2700 Route 97, Cooksville. Highlights include therapeutic activities, including music, art and exercise, as well as a support group. A daily fee of $30 includes snacks, lunch, coffee and tea. The program is sponsored by the Howard County Office on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association of Greater Maryland. Information: Judy Miller at 410-313-5441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Habitat for Humanity and the Boy Scouts of America have placed a collection bin for aluminum cans at the entrance to the parking lot of Christ Memorial Presbyterian Church, 6410 Amherst Ave., in Allview Estates. Information: 410-997-4949.